Matters of State

Shawn Brommer —  June 11, 2013 — 3 Comments

woman painting map

Are you a member of your state’s library association?  Active members create strong state associations and opportunities for professional and personal development abound within these critical organizations.   Participation in state associations benefit everyone, from those who are just starting their library careers through retirees.

Ways that state library associations help professionals develop leadership skills include opportunities to:

  • network with other librarians from similar institutions
  • network with other librarians from completely different institutions
  • learn how to participate on boards and committees
  • take on leadership roles within the association and its divisions or sections
  • attend conferences and learn from peers
  • present conference sessions and share your library’s success stories
  • advocate for libraries
  • develop professional friendships that lead to ingenious and long-lasting partnerships.

Ways that library leaders help build strong staff and vibrant associations include:

  • Talking to new colleagues about ways that you personally have been involved with your state’s library association.
  • Working with library friends groups or other organizations to establish annual awards that pay membership fees for new staff.
  • Inviting new staff and colleagues to join you at conference programs and events.
  • Recommending staff and colleagues for committees and leadership roles within the association.
  • Encouraging staff and colleagues to contribute articles to association newsletters and blogs.
  • Encouraging staff and colleagues to present conference sessions — offer to co-present with those who have great information to share and little experience with public speaking.
  • Recommend your colleagues and mentors for association awards and recognitions.

Leaders know when the time is right to be active and take on leadership roles and when it’s time to step aside and encourage others to participate and thrive.  By remaining active and serving as mentors, library leaders benefit from membership in state associations throughout their careers.

Image: Library of Congress,  Woman Creating Map of United States and Counties, 8/12/1922

Shawn Brommer


Shawn currently coordinates youth and outreach services for 53 public libraries in South Central Wisconsin. She has worked in public libraries since 1989 and in that time has retrieved thousands of archived issues of (paper!) periodicals, shelved miles of books, conducted hundreds of youth programs, presented at state & national library conferences, and has written dozens of grants. She has served on and chaired national committees for the American Library Association and has proudly chaired children's book award committees for the Wisconsin and New York Library Associations and the South Asia National Outreach Consortium. She is especially committed to creating welcoming environments for library patrons and staff and to helping colleagues thrive and succeed.

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